Bashar Balleh is a musician, composer, and teacher with over 12 years of experience. Born in Latakia, Syria, he studied and taught at the Syrian National Center of Music for 7 years before war forced him to move to Turkey.
After overcoming homelessness, life as a street musician, and two failed escapes to Europe, Bashar was able to build a musical community in Istanbul. He co-founded Country for Syria with an American musician, Owen Harris, in 2015, to use music as a tool to bring together East and West through mutual musical understanding. The band, which raised money for refugees at each concert, gained popularity among foreigners and local Istanbulites alike through weekly shows and major event performances at UNHCR World Refugee Day festivals, US Embassy events, and private events for NGOs and private parties.
Bashar moved to New York City in February 2019 amid the Travel Ban to pursue his education at Columbia University under the Displaced Persons Scholarship. However, Columbia cancelled its scholarship program entirely one month before the start of the semester, and Bashar and his wife moved to her hometown in Boise, Idaho in August 2020. He is now a full-time private teacher and composer, working out of an old wine-cellar converted into a studio.